Korean skin-care products of all kinds seem to have one thing in common lately: cica. If it’s not in the mask, serum, moisturizer, or at-home peel pad’s name, it’s on the ingredient list under its scientific name, Centella asiatica. The leafy green herb has been known for centuries for its regenerative powers, but it’s taken until recently for beauty consumers to fully catch on. Western beauty brands like L’Oréal Paris and Kiehl’s are even starting to take note.
If you ask Charlotte Cho, an aesthetician and cofounder of K-beauty e-retailer Soko Glam, cica is becoming so widespread in Korean products because something is in the air — literally. “Sensitive skin is a very common skin type in Korea due to high pollution levels,” she told Allure when we did a deep dive on the ingredient. “As a result, sensitive-skin-friendly ingredients, such as cica, are frequently found in Korean beauty products to calm inflammation, redness, and irritated skin.”
And let’s be real: The pollution levels are pretty damn high stateside, too. With that in mind, our skin deals with the environmental aggressors’ damaging effects, like fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, and irritation.
However, keep in mind that product names with cica in it might not always refer to cica as in Centella asiatica. Instead, it may be based on the French word “cicatrisation,” which means healing. Although we’re sure these products will offer your sensitive skin some salvation, you won’t truly be taking advantage of the wonders of K-beauty’s favorite ingredient of the moment.
That aside, keep scrolling to find out which cica products you should be incorporating into your skin-care routine to take advantage of its soothing, antibacterial benefits.
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